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Transport experts call for switch to smart road user pricing scheme in London

London’s air pollution crisis must be tackled with bold actions including replacing Congestion Charging with a pre-pay smart road user pricing scheme.

Westminster Bridge at sunset, London, UK

The report calls for a pan-London pre-pay smart road user pricing scheme.

That’s the message of a new report compiled by transport and environment experts, which proposes a package of policy reforms to reduce car usage across the capital.

Convened by the Centre for London think tank, the independent Commission on the Future of London’s Roads and Streets calls on the mayor to create a transport system maximising the use of new technology and focused on public transport, walking and cycling.

This includes reviewing the existing Congestion Charge scheme in the short term and ultimately replacing it with a pre-pay smart road user pricing scheme to reflect the internal and external costs and environmental impacts of journeys.

The authors also call for the existing Oyster and Contactless payment platforms to be updated to incorporate new types of services such as car clubs, cycle hire, taxis and cabs as well as road pricing.

The report also proposes more effective management of new technologies and new intelligent mobility services such as autonomous and connected vehicles, car clubs and digital ‘Ride-Hailing’ services, which it says can help meet London’s challenges.

Other proposals include a cashback scrappage scheme as part of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), benefiting motorists who pay ULEZ charges frequently, and the implementation of charging and other incentives to enable efficient, clean and safe freight and servicing to support London’s businesses.

The commission also warns that even ‘zero emission’ vehicles produce dangerous particles from brakes, tyres and roadware, and calls for more research and innovation, and a better policy framework to tackle non-tailpipe emissions.

Ben Rogers, director, Centre for London, said: “With the help of the reforms proposed by the Commission, London could be admired across the world for the way it enables easy, pollution-free and affordable movement around the city, the vitality of its neighbourhoods, and the quality of its public realm.”For more of the latest industry news, click here.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.